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Australian News

India’s glorious summer in Australia reminiscent of the West Indies in 1960-61 — they deserve the same fanfare


In the history of cricket in Australia, the 1960–61 tour by the West Indies stands out like a beacon.

Australia won that five-match series 60 years ago 2-1, but the West Indies captured the hearts and minds of the country.

The tour was unique in so many ways, not least that it was the first West Indian team to be captained by a black man, Frank Worrell, but also for the enormous goodwill that emerged between the two sides.

At least 90,000 spectators turned up for the first day of the fifth Test.

After Australia won it by two wickets, Worrell presented Australian captain Richie Benaud with his cap, tie and blazer, along with the comments “I give Richie my scalp, my neck and my body”.

Thousands of spectators below the balcony of the MCG members broke into For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.

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Days later, tens of thousands of Melbournians lined the city streets 10-deep as the West Indies were given a motorcade send-off for a series that was said to have rescued cricket.

Worrell later said “the traffic was literally stopped…people were to be seen lining the streets, leaning out of windows three or four storeys up”.

“They Lost the Series — But They Won Australia” read the Daily Telegraph’s front-page headline on the report of the motorcade.

Sixty years later, in these strange COVID times, how different is it for an Indian team — that has risen above all barriers to win the Test series 2-1 — which will quietly slip out of the country today with little fanfare.

It seems wrong for a team that has pulled off what Sambit Bal writing for Cricinfo called “the greatest moment in India’s Test history” by retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Just imagine the send-off they would have received in a COVID-free world if they could have been driven in open-top cars through the streets of Sydney or Melbourne with their huge Indian populations of adoring fans.

India's Rishabh Pant raises his arm as he runs while celebrating the winning runs against Australia.
Rishabh Pant’s innings steered India to an unlikely win in Brisbane.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

At least they got a lap of honour in front of a scattered but raucous crowd of supporters at the Gabba to soak up the significance of their stunning three-wicket win and series comeback, after getting rolled for just 36 runs to lose the first Test in Adelaide.

It’s fitting that Brisbane was the venue for their extraordinary series win, the same venue that hosted the famous tied Test between the West Indies and Australia on that historic tour 60 years ago.

And how fitting that India’s stand-in captain, Ajinkya Rahane, presented Nathan Lyon with a jersey signed by the Indian team to mark his 100th Test, in a gesture that harked back to Worrell’s gift to Benaud.

It was a gracious act by a gracious team — one that differs in so many ways from those that have come before.

Indian teams loaded with superstars like Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh have come to this country and failed.

This side came back against all odds without the one player who sits in the same pantheon of those former Indian greats, captain Virat Kohli.

Those sides from the early 2000s played with a feistiness. They were the new India, no longer bound by their colonial past.

This side stands on their shoulders without the need to prove anything beyond their ability and grittiness on the cricket field.

India players and support staff embrace as they celebrate beating Australia in the fourth Test in Brisbane.
India’s series win has been labelled one of the greatest of all time.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

And they do so with confidence and youth — a reflection of modern India and modern times.

Mohammed Siraj called out racist comments in just his second Test match, an act hard to imagine in years gone by.

“A new India emerged Down Under — resilient and ambitious” Ashutosh Sharma wrote in India’s Outlook magazine.

“This was arguably India’s greatest Test win overseas and definitely their finest series victory ever,” wrote Partha Bhaduri in the Times of India.

“They believed, obstinately and vehemently.”

“Young India is showing is showing they are not afraid,” said former captain and Indian Test legend Sunil Gavaskar.

This side won the trophy named in Gavaskar’s honour along with Australia’s Allan Border with an astonishing mix of skill, tenacity, courage and yes, belief.

Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara screams in pain as teammate Ajinkya Rahane watches on.
Cheteshwar Pujara was at his resilient best in Brisbane, and lead from the front all series.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

It’s at times like these that superlatives flow and yet they don’t seem to do justice to explain what we all witnessed — a so-called second-string side coming back from an embarrassing defeat and suffering a shocking series of injuries to beat one of the strongest sides in world cricket on their home soil during a global pandemic.

Just three players from that losing first Test side played in the Brisbane Test and only two, Rahane and the mighty warrior Cheteshwar Pujara, played in all four.

They won without six of their first-choice bowlers — the attack went into the fourth Test with just four matches and 11 wickets between them.

It’s been asked before, but worth repeating: how would an Australian side fare in India without Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood and Lyon?

Those players and the rest of the Australian team will now have to lick their wounds as they prepare for a tour of South Africa and find a means to regain their mojo.

But this isn’t their time.

This time belongs to India, a team that has created one of the great Test series that will live in the memory like the West Indies in 1960-61.

They deserve a motorcade.



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Australian News

Tennis Australia to fund hotel quarantine, vic govt says


The Victorian government has rejected Tennis Australia’s claim that taxpayers will be footing part of the bill for Australian Open hotel quarantine.

Police Minister Lisa Neville, who is overseeing hotel quarantine, said the bill would instead be “sent straight back to Tennis Australia” after CEO Craig Tiley’s earlier remarks on Wednesday that the government would “absolutely” pay for part of the Aussie Open quarantine program.

I did see Craig Tyler‘s comments, but I want to be very clear that hotel quarantine for the Australian Open is fully funded by Tennis Australia,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

“I’ve triple confirmed that again today.”

Ms Neville said plans for the state government to pay for the quarantine scheme had never been a part of pre-tournament negotiations.

“We are asking, for example, Australians who returned to contribute to the hotel quarantine costs, so it seemed appropriate to us that also tennis players, or the association, should contribute to their hotel costs,” she said.

About 1200 players and staff who are in Australia for the tournament are completing 14-day stays at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne, the View on St Kilda Road, and the Pullman hotel in Albert Park.

Mr Tiley earlier on Wednesday said quarantining players and staff would cost more than $40 million, with the state government “absolutely” chipping in.

But he did not know how much the government contribution would be.

“That’s still to be determined because we’re still in the middle of that. Probably the end of next week or the week after we’ll know exactly,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“These quarantining costs are new costs. The state government is supporting us in that.”

Three more people associated with the Australian Open returned positive coronavirus results on Wednesday morning.

Among them was a player believed to not be infectious but shedding the virus. They will still be required to lockdown.

It brings the total number of positive COVID-19 cases associated with the Australian Open to 10.

The tournament is scheduled to start on February 8.



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Local News - Victoria

Victorian private schools record lowest fee rises in Australia


The analysis of 400 non-government schools across the country, including more than 100 in Victoria, was conducted by Edstart, which finances school fees for families.

Of the Victorian schools, 35 charged more than $30,000 a year for year 12 local students while 67 charged below that.

Edstart chief executive Jack Stevens said: “Across Australia many schools kept their fees steady to assist families economically impacted by the pandemic.

“We found that nearly 40 per cent of schools did not increase their 2021 fees, which is a massive jump from 7 per cent of schools in 2020.”

Schools that charge at least $30,000 a year for year 12 local students were more likely to freeze their fees, with more than half holding fees steady this year.

“This is a stark contrast to previous years where these schools had maintained a relatively consistent trend of fee increases of between 3 per cent to 4 per cent,” Mr Stevens said.

The Knox School principal Allan Shaw.

The Knox School principal Allan Shaw.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Thirty-six per cent of Victorian students attend a non-government school, the highest rate of any state in Australia and well above the OECD average.

Victorian schools were forced to teach online for much of 2020 and many cut fees for families whose finances came under pressure. Some schools also experienced industrial conflict for standing down staff during the state’s lockdowns.

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While the school fee freezes are welcome news for parents, the Independent Education Union has complained they have been subsidised by freezes in teacher pay.

Schools to freeze fees for 2021 include The Geelong College, St Leonard’s College and The Knox School.

The Knox School principal Allan Shaw said: “Because we didn’t charge any of the co-curricular fee levies for most of last year, some families decided to give us that money and transfer it to other families in need.

“I was impressed, that was real community support.”

The Geelong College principal Peter Miller said while COVID-19 had not affected this year’s scholarship intake, it was reasonable to expect the downturn would lead to more demand in the future.

St Leonard’s College principal Stuart Davis said the inability of parents to attend school open days during most of 2020 would have “greater implications” in years to come.

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India clinches deserved Test series win over Australia with Gabba triumph in Brisbane


In truth, it happened hours before the miracle victory was clinched by the wicketkeeper who can’t catch and the net bowlers who were 18th, 19th and 20th in line for a spot in the team.

It happened when nobody with a rudimentary understanding of cricket history — nobody with basic common sense — believed that even India, the team that can’t be killed, the team formed from the surviving components of a cricketing car crash, could become the first since 1988 to beat Australia at the Gabba.

The moment that should define India’s courageous retention of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy occurred in the 51st over, halfway through the final day of the summer. Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood unleashed a vicious, angled bouncer, striking Cheteshwar Pujara’s face guard so violently that his helmet nearly did a 360-spin.

It was the 10th head or body blow Pujara had worn for the day — a day on which he would make 56 runs from 211 deliveries but achieve a sporting immortality that isn’t measured in numbers. Earlier, Pat Cummins had struck him in the ribs at full pace — blunt force comparable to a sledgehammer blow — and Pujara had not so much as blinked.

After Hazlewood’s bouncer, Pujara simply called for a new helmet and determinedly sailed on, staring into the middle distance, dismissed only once he’d moved India to the launching pad from which Rishabh Pant would secure one of the great Test victories. Seconds after the clang of leather on metal, the uncaring bowler had snarled: “Did you see that one?”

Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara screams in pain as teammate Ajinkya Rahane watches on.
Cheteshwar Pujara was battered and bruised, yet India triumphed at the Gabba.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

The catalyst of all that drama was Pujara’s withdrawal from the crease a moment earlier, when his spell of concentration was broken by the appearance of an insect. It looked like a caper white butterfly, Belenois java — not native to Brisbane but a fixture in recent summers. Locals decried their arrival at first but were soon transfixed by their beauty.

The story of India’s summer is not dissimilar.

They were skittled for 36 and embarrassed in Adelaide, sledged and abused in Sydney, battered and bruised by Australia’s fast bowlers until they’d used almost enough players for two XIs.

Yet with majestic, confounding and utterly compelling cricket they have not just retained the trophy but won it 2-1, gaining admirers all over the world and finally moving Australians from begrudging respect to unconditional applause.

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There were heroes throughout the tourists’ line-up. Rookie opener Shubman Gill made a nerveless, almost faultless 91 that confirmed a special talent and set India on its way. His assault on Mitchell Starc altered the mood of the day and Australia never really recovered.

Chaperoning him, Pujara was like a human pinata. Australia’s bowlers wore themselves ragged trying to crack him open. Washington Sundar threw caution to the wind precisely when it was required, inspiring Rishabh Pant and pushing him to greater heights as the quite ridiculous chase reached its most feverish point.

What is left to say about Pant? His undefeated 89 pushed his series aggregate to 274 runs at 68.50. Will it forever banish the debate about what India loses from his sub-par glovework? He probably wishes every Test was played in Australia. Some of his teammates might wish the same.

India's Rishabh Pant raises his arm as he runs while celebrating the winning runs against Australia.
Rishabh Pant (right) rose to the occasion to hit the winning runs.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

Australia has far more difficult conversations ahead. One of the primary appeals of Test cricket is its ruthless examination of technique, temperament, strategy and stamina — tests Australia flunked in Brisbane as they had in Sydney.

Starc, a frequent destroyer of less heralded batting line-ups, was an unfortunate avatar. With the series on the line, his job was to aim every delivery of his first spell at the widening cracks of the wearing pitch.

In theory, it should have been a nightmare scenario for Pujara and Gill, the batsmen at the time. In reality it was a far tougher assignment for Starc.

A bowler who struggled all summer to aim accurately within the width and height of three stumps was asked to come around the wicket, avoiding deep footmarks that meant he was delivering the ball an extra yard, push through the pain of a hamstring injury that had reduced his rhythm and pace, on the final day of a punishing series, to hit a target the width of a fingernail.

To the surprise of very few, it didn’t work — neither did basically everything else Tim Paine tried, aside from bringing back Cummins every time he was refreshed enough to bowl again. Nathan Lyon finished his 100th Test stuck on 399 wickets, contemplating his status as only the fourth-best spinner in the series. His was not the only ego to be bruised.

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That is not to say India’s task was straightforward. Hazlewood and Cummins bowled with venom. Because Cummins is so handsome and polite, we underestimate what an ordeal he is to face. He bowled magnificently and with unbelievable resilience: 24 overs, 10 maidens, 4-55. But he couldn’t bowl forever.

Australia might well offer the excuse that the bowlers were already worn out. That shouldn’t wash.

All summer they’ve ignored capable benchwarmers in James Pattinson, Michael Neser and Mitchell Swepson. And anyway, a group of battlers with 11 Test wickets between them leading into this match took 10 on day four, when the pitch was in better shape than the final day.

“Did you see that one?” It could be the motto of the summer. Following the penultimate day’s play, no less an authority than Ian Chappell said this was a contest to rank with the classics of 1960/61 and 2005. Chappell is not given to exaggerations. On camera, he doesn’t permit himself such excesses as smiling.

In this case, he’s probably right again. Until the quite stirring conclusion, you could have been convinced that it was merely very good Test cricket.

Firstly, compared to the all-timers, with 34 participants, there was a lack of continuity in line-ups. In 2005, England used only 12 players and Australia 13 — many of them all-time greats. It and the Calypso summer prompted motorcades, open-top bus parties, knighthoods and MBEs.

What honours are available to Ajinkya Rahane’s team? Every one of them should be forthcoming. An initial suggestion: give them the keys to the Gabba.



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Australian News

India beats Australia on last day of Gabba Test, winning Border-Gavaskar Trophy with remarkable run chase


India has scored a famous victory in the Test series against Australia, chasing down 328 on the last day of the final game at the Gabba to win the series 2-1 and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

A draw would have been enough to retain the trophy for India, after their historic series victory in 2018/19, but the impressive side went all out and charged home, scoring 51 off the last five overs to win.

Explosive wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, who was not picked for the first game, hit the winning runs as he completed a match-winning 89.

Late hitting from Pant and debutant Washington Sundar (22 off 29) saw the depleted tourists home, ending Australia’s unbeaten streak at the ground, which lasted more than 32 years.

As evidence of the spare-parts nature of this team, the win was set up by 91 from rookie opener Shubman Gill, who also was not picked for the series opener and was playing in just his third Test, and veteran Cheteshwar Pujara, who held off the Australian attack with a masterful 56 off 211.

It marks the third straight series win against Australia for India, and two in a row on Australian soil.

India batsman Rishabh Pant swings hard on day five of a Test at the Gabba.
Rishabh Pant kept India in the game in the third Test in Sydney and did the same at the Gabba.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

The day started with a clear objective for Australia — 10 wickets to win the match. A fast start was imperative, and it took only a few overs for Australia to find the first breakthrough when Pat Cummins found the edge of Rohit Sharma’s bat to deliver Tim Paine a simple catch.

But if the hosts thought that first wicket would lead to an avalanche, they were sorely mistaken. Joining Gill at the crease was Pujara, and together the Indian pair set out to defy Australia for the rest of the session.

Pujara was resolute in defence, while Gill played the role of the cautious aggressor. The latter played some fantastic shots, most notably when he uppercut Mitchell Starc for six over third man in the last over of the session.

The solid but steady start brought India into the game, and they carried on in the same vein after lunch. Pujara copped a barrage of short balls and wore several of them on the body — and took a few more on the helmet — but refused to give his wicket away.

Meanwhile Gill continued his attack, and after taking Starc for 20 in one particularly poor over for the out of form quick, the young opener was on track for a first Test century.

Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara screams in pain as teammate Ajinkya Rahane watches on.
Cheteshwar Pujara copped an absolute barrage of short balls from the Australian bowling attack.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

His fine innings would fall just short of the milestone though, ended by an edge to Steve Smith at first slip off a relatively straight Nathan Lyon delivery.

That brought Ajinkya Rahane to the crease, and the captain looked to keep India’s momentum going with some assertive strokeplay and aggressive running between wickets.

He raced to 24, but was undone by a Cummins short ball which kept a little low. Rahane’s attempt at a ramp over the slips resulted in nothing more than a simple catch to Paine.

India rolled the dice and brought Pant to the crease early — a clear sign of intent — and he and a battered and bruised Pujara saw India to tea with Australia still needing seven wickets, and India 145 runs for victory.

It wouldn’t have taken long after the tea break for Australia to start getting the flashbacks from Sydney, as Pant and Pujara kept them at bay for over after over.

Matthew Wade, David Warner, Steve Smith and Tim Paine surround Indian batsman Rishabh Pant on day five of the Gabba Test.
Australia got desperate as India’s resistance continued on day five.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

Australia lacked urgency, and its tactics were questionable for a team that needed to win the match, but India too looked to be taking its time and not chasing the win with the same purpose it had earlier in the day.

The last hope for the Aussies was the new ball, and in the hands of Cummins, it needed only two balls to provide another twist — Pujara was finally given out lbw, and a batsman’s review showed the ball was clipping the very top of the leg bail.

As the match headed into it’s last hour, Australia thought they had Mayank Agarwal caught behind and lost a review when DRS showed no edge, but disappointment quickly turned to elation for Cummins and Australia when Agarwal drove the next ball to Matthew Wade at cover.

Needing 63 to win off 13 overs, Pant was joined at the crease by debutant Sundar, fresh off a half-century in the first innings, and both boosted the run rate.

Sundar fell with the team needing just 10 runs to win, and Shardul Thakur followed suit with three runs left, but nothing could stop Pant and India’s charge to victory.

See how the day unfolded in our live blog.

Live updates

Pinned

Australia vs India: Fourth Test at the Gabba

By Dean Bilton

That’s all, folks!

AP

Well that was something, wasn’t it? A day to remember, at the end of a series I think we’ll be talking about for many a year to come. And let’s not forget given everything else going on, we’re probably lucky we even got this series away at all. Good thing we did, hey?

I’m going to sign off the blog here, but there will be plenty more coverage on this incredible result to come. Thank you to everyone who has hopped on board during our cricket blogs during this series, be it for a quick check of the score or for a lengthy conversation during a rain delay. It’s always so much more fun watching the cricket with all of you, especially when the cricket is that good.

Until next time, from me, Jon, Dan and Simon, have a good one.

By Dean Bilton

Ajinkya Rahane speaks

It clearly means a lot. I don’t know how to describe this but I’m extremely proud of the boys.

We just wanted to get close, because we knew Rishabh and Mayank could do it later on.

Taking 20 wickets was the key, which is why we picked five bowlers. All credit to the bowlers, the way they handled the pressure was really good.

After Adelaide we didn’t discuss anything. We just wanted to play our game and show good character. We just wanted to express ourselves as a team. That was the key to the win for us.

Honestly it was hard work hearing Rahane over the top of the Indian fans in the Gabba, who are understandably going bonkers. Rahane signs off by thanking those fans, and by presenting Nathan Lyon with a signed jersey to commemorate his 100th Test match. Now that’s a cricket team right there.

By Dean Bilton

Tim Paine speaks

I’m completely disappointed. In the end we were completely outplayed by a better side in this series.

India turned up today and put their bodies on the line, they kept soldiering on. Full credit to them.

We’ll look back at this, but we have to look forward too because we’ve got a big series against South Africa coming up.

Our bowlers threw everything at them, tried their hearts out, but things didn’t go our way.

By Dean Bilton

Pat Cummins is man of the series

We were discussing this earlier, and there really was no clear stand out for this award, but four wickets today probably swung it in Pat’s favour late.

He really was fantastic across all four Tests. This Australian team has 99 problems, but Pat Cummins definitely isn’t one.

AP

By Dean Bilton

Rishabh Pant is the man of the match

Well deserved. It’s insane to me that he wasn’t picked in Adelaide. He is a special cricketer, one whose rough times you simply have to take because you will eventually get days like today.

AP

By Dean Bilton

So the Indians are currently enjoying a richly-deserved lap of honour. I’m not sure Rishabh Pant has stopped smiling since the ball left his bat that last time.

The Aussies, on the hand, are ashen faced. At some point the conversation will turn to them, and frankly, there ought to be recriminations for Australia after this series. Today especially, Australia was depserately poor.

But that stuff can wait. Right now it’s India’s time. We’ll have presentations very soon, but for now it’s all celebration.

AP
AAP

By Dean Bilton

Audience comment by Mandy

Congratulations India! Amazing match. Amazing series. They played so well. They deserve the series win.<br>Gutted for the Aussies, but so impressed with the Indians attitude to the game all series.

Audience comment by Gari

The spirit and skill of the Indian team is unbelivable

Audience comment by Steve

Well done India amazing effort! One for the ages

Audience comment by Old timer

The best thing about that historic test match is that it was a most deserved win. And a deserved series win. Magic stuff !

By Daniel Colasimone

Fabulous Test match

📻

(AP)

Jim Maxwell calls it:

“This has been a fabulous Test match!

“Even though they looked like they were going to explode with wickets at the end, they hung on.

“Pant was the hero.

“Congratulations to India, who’ve won this game thrillingly, by three wickets.”

By Dean Bilton

I REPEAT, INDIA WINS THE TEST BY THREE WICKETS! INDIA WINS THE SERIES 2-1!

Scenes of unrestrained joy on the Gabba, as Rishabh Pant is overcome by emotion and the weight of his achievements today. The Indian players embrace, a team now united by this accomplishment and immortalised in Test cricket history as one of the most remarkable the game has seen.

Truthfully, has there been a better series victory in Test cricket? A more unlikely one? The obstacles this Indian has overcome to pull this off, it just beggars belief. From the shame of Adelaide, to losing their talisman, to injury after injury after injury, all to arrive at the one place no touring team is supposed to be able to win, chasing a total no team at said ground has EVER chased down to win. And yet they won. With style and grace and skill and so much courage.

This is quite special.

AP

By Dean Bilton

4 overs to go – Josh Hazlewood bowling – 10 to win

Surely Pant will just look to do this casually now? Does he even know how to do that?

HE’S HIT IT FOR FOUR! HOW?!? What a shot from Rishabh Pant! He was falling over, lost his balance completely, but STILL managed to get a pull shot away. What’s more, he absolutely creamed it. Away for four, he ends up on his back, he’s one shot away.

IN THE AIR! SURELY OUT?!? No! There’s no fielder at cover! Pant tried to end it with a six, and could so easily have been out. Five to win.

Shardul gets one on his hip, and tucks it easily down to fine leg… for two! Great running again by India, they’ve been wonderful between the wickets all day. Three to get!

SHARDUL IS OUT! CAUGHT AT MIDWICKET! SURELY NOT?!?!?

A leading edge! Straight up in the air! Straight to Nathan Lyon! Three wickets or three runs, what comes first?

The big question is if the batsmen crossed while that ball was in the air… the answer is yes. So Pant is on strike and Navdeep Saini is protected.

Two balls left in the over.

Miles down the leg side, but not a wide in Test cricket! Clever from Hazlewood. Can he bowl one more dot?

RISHABH PANT HITS A FOUR! INDIA WIN THE TEST BY THREE WICKETS! INDIA WIN THE SERIES 2-1!

By Dean Bilton

5 overs to go – Nathan Lyon bowling – 15 to win

Pant charges and smacks one through the off side… just a single. Honestly, Pant doesn’t even need to play shots as expansive as that. The field is SO spread, just take ones and twos and start celebrating.

Smacked out to deep point again by Washington. One more.

Swept by Rishabh Pant! There’s acres of space out on the on side, so he casually gets through for three. TEN RUNS TO WIN.

BOWLED HIM! WASHINGTON IS BOWLED REVERSE SWEEPING!

Well I’ve not got a single clue why he did that. It’s just taken a tiny bit of his glove on its way to the off stump too. He has done his job wonderfully here, and deserved to be out there at the end. I doubt it will make much difference to the outcome, but it’s a shame for Washington Sundar.

NOW they’ve brought some fielders in around the bat! In the nick of time.

Shardul Thakur defends the last ball of the over. Four to bowl, 10 to win.

By Daniel Colasimone

India’s momentum unstoppable

📻

Stuart Clark:

“I don’t know how the Australians can stop this energy.”

Jim Maxwell: 

“They certainly need to get one or both of these batsmen out. Because they’re on song.

“They seem to have enormous self belief.”

“We are watching potentially one of the greatest Indian victories of all time.

“There’s no doubt about it.

“The roar of the crowd suggest there are quite a few Indians here.”

By Dean Bilton

6 overs to go – Josh Hazlewood bowling – 24 to win

Josh Hazlewood thrown the ball. Can he do anything to stop this Indian charge?

Pant drops and runs a quick single to cover… AND THERE’S AN OVERTHROW! Make that two for Pant. They can walk this in with singles now.

Turned away to fine leg by Pant… and he gets back for two more! Field completely spread by Australia, as it has been for all of Pant’s innings.

Now just a single to square leg from Pant. 19 to win. Unbelievable.

FOUR LEG BYES! Washington has somehow kicked one OVER the slips cordon for four! I don’t know how he did it, but it doesn’t matter now!

Hazlewood ends the over by screaming one past Washington’s outside edge. No nick though, so another successful over for India ends.

By Dean Bilton

7 overs to go – Nathan Lyon bowling – 39 to win

Pant on strike.

RAMPED! FOUR! IT’S PARTY TIME! What a shot from Rishabh Pant! Falling to his knees, he’s flicked one over where leg slip would have been and earns another four!

What a result this will be for India.

FOUR MORE! The most brutal sweep shot you’ll ever see! India is that close!

Now driven out to deep point for a single. 31 from 39 needed.

FOUR BYES! It’s hit a crack, spun the other way and gone straight through the keeper for another boundary. It’s almost over!

Two more for Washington out to deep cover! 15 from the over, and India is about to pull off one of the greatest Test series victories in the history of the sport. 

By Dean Bilton

8 overs to go – Pat Cummins bowling – 50 to win

50 runs, 48 balls.

Short ball, Pant ducks out of the way.

Single to Pant down to fine leg. They creep ever closer. But one way or another, looks like the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will be staying in India.

IN THE AIR! But mid off is deep! Way too deep! It lands a metre or two in front of him!

For two straight days now, I haven’t been able to get my head around the concept that Australia would be at all worried about losing this game.

SIX RUNS! HUUUUUUUUUUUGE! Washington Sundar steps inside a bouncer and hooks Cummins DEEP over fine leg for six runs!

FOUR RUNS! Slashed over the gully for another boundary! Washington getting the job done!

10 runs off the last two balls, and it’s now 39 runs off 42 balls. India should do this!



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Australian News

Australia vs India live: Brisbane weather to play a part as Australia’s fast bowlers hunt wickets on final day at Gabba



51st over – Hazlewood gets a look at Rahane

AND RAHANE HOOKS HIM FOR FOUR! Probably a top edge technically, but very safe and a boundary for the skipper.

You would have to think Australia needs at least one, but probably two wickets in this session to have any real hope of winning the Test. But getting Pujara and/or Rahane out is easier said than done.

One more for Rahane squirted out to point.

OH MY GOODNESS! Pujara is SMASHED in the head! Straight on the front of the grill, and the neck guard on the back of his head flies off. Incredibly, Pujara is okay.

Just before that ball, Pujara backed away right as Hazlewood was preparing to ball because there was a butterfly in front of him. Hazlewood stared him down a little after that, and looked like he put some extra effort into that one. That was fast, and jagged back hard at the batsman. Pujara hardly moved before it crashed into his grill.

So we’re taking some time to make sure Pujara is okay. It looks like he’s going to continue. How much can one man take?

Pujara defends the last ball of another incredible over. The game has gone up a notch in the last 20 minutes or so.



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South Australia’s Australian of the Year finalist Tanya Hosch calls for Australia Day date change


South Australia’s Australian of the Year finalist says Australia Day should be moved away from January 26 so it can become a public holiday celebrated by everyone.

Tanya Hosch, a Torres Strait Islander woman who is the AFL’s executive general manager for inclusion and social policy, says it is time for a mature debate to permanently change the date.

“I’m definitely one of those Australians who think we’ve got an opportunity for a nation-building moment to change the date that we hold Australia Day on,” Ms Hosch told ABC News presenter Emma Rebellato in an Instagram Live interview yesterday.

“We haven’t celebrated Australia Day on this date for decades and decades and decades — it’s only been about 20 years — so we definitely have an opportunity, I think, to revisit that date.

“Because we have the conversation perennially — like every 12 months, we have the conversation — we have the same debates and the same ideas, but we don’t ever seem to resolve it.”

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Ms Hosch was adopted at three years old by an Aboriginal father and a white mother.

She grew up in the north-eastern Adelaide suburb of Gilles Plains and now lives in the same area.

She was the first Indigenous person, and second woman, on the AFL’s executive leadership team.

Players and AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan stand around the AFL's Yes logo, in support of same-sex marriage.
Tanya Hosch stands with AFL players, coaches and executives around the AFL’s Yes logo in support of same-sex marriage.(AAP: AFL House)

Unsure about accepting nomination

She said she debated about whether or not to accept the nomination as South Australia’s Australian of the Year.

“When I got notice that I had been nominated for this award, I really needed to think about whether I would accept this nomination,” she said.

“But I think as a mature nation there’s a whole lot of things we have the opportunity to do to build our nation — to make it stronger, to address the sorts of things that often create dissent and pain for people and tap into some significant trauma.

“I think as a country, if we want Australia Day to be a day that is truly unifying for all the stories that make up our nation, then reviewing the date — thinking about it differently — I don’t think there’s anything to fear in that, there’s jut some great opportunities.”

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Role in Adam Goodes documentaries

Ms Hosch championed the first statue of an Indigenous AFL player, Nicky Winmar, and instigated a review of anti-vilification policy within the sporting code.

Ms Hosch also helped to secure an apology from the AFL for former Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes, following the racial vilification he endured throughout the final years of his football career.

Goodes was criticised by some Aboriginal leaders for not pushing for Australia Day’s date to be changed when he was Australian of the Year in 2014.

Ms Hosch worked with the producers of the two 2019 films about Goodes, The Final Quarter and The Australian Dream.

She said the documentaries helped people — including footballers Goodes played against — recognise how long he had to endure the “horrible behaviour”.

“It was a real pleasure, privilege and a great opportunity to work with the filmmakers to say ‘how do I harness this moment?'” Ms Hosch said.

The 2021 Australian of the Year will be announced on January 25.



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Australia sets India 328 to win Gabba Test and Border-Gavaskar series, before rain ends day four


In scenes reminiscent of the last Test in Sydney, Australia will need to take all 10 Indian wickets on day five to win the game, but this time the trophy will be up for grabs and the weather will almost certainly play a part.

After a slower-than-expected fourth day at the Gabba that was twice halted by rain, India can try to chase down the 328-run target to win the game and the series, or they can try to bat out the day for a draw, which would be good enough to tie the series at 1-1 and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Australia, meanwhile, will have to bowl India out to win back bragging rights for the first time since 2015.

The bowlers could have possibly made more inroads into the Indian line-up on day four had there been a bit more urgency in the Australian batting tactics.

An early declaration looked on when the opening pair of David Warner and Marcus Harris came out with an aggressive but controlled approach, hitting four boundaries off the first 16 balls of the day and taking 40 off the first seven overs without ever really getting too agricultural in their strokeplay.

But suddenly wickets started falling. First Harris awkwardly gloved a Shardul Thakur bouncer to Rishabh Pant, and Warner was out just two runs short of a half-century when he was trapped in front by debutant off-spinner Washington Sundar one over later.

Despite the double blow, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith kept the scoring rate high, with 32 runs from four overs, but Labuschagne nicked Mohammed Siraj into the slips after scoring 25 at better than a run a ball.

Australia batsman Steve Smith hits a cricket ball into Indian fielder Mayank Agarwal during a Test.
Australia’s batting tactics left some confused on day four.(AAP: Darren England)

Three balls later, Matthew Wade was out for a duck after edging down the leg side, and Cameron Green had to work with Smith to consolidate and just survive through to lunch, which they did with the lead having ballooned to 182 runs.

Fireworks were expected to come after lunch, but neither batsman managed tee off, with Smith eventually reaching another half-century, only to edge Siraj into the slips on 55.

Captain Tim Paine put on 31 runs with Green before the West Australian nicked off to Shardul Thakur for 37, and Paine (27) joined him soon after as he chased a short ball in trying to boost the run rate.

Rain arrived one over before tea was scheduled, but there was still no declaration coming, despite a healthy 276-run lead.

Instead, Paine sent Cummins and Mitchell Starc back out under lights and the latter was gone for 1 shortly after the resumption.

Even as the lead passed 300 runs and the artificial light took hold as clouds darkened the skies, no declaration came.

Nathan Lyon was eventually dismissed for 13 and Josh Hazlewood for 9 as the Australian innings ended on 294, with a 327-run lead.

But the lack of urgency from Australia’s batting saw them lose a race against the elements, with the rain arriving and forcing the teams from the field just 11 deliveries into the innings, with four runs ticked off the target.

Look back at how the day unfolded in our live blog.

Live updates

Pinned

Australia vs India: Fourth Test at the Gabba

By Dean Bilton

Play has been abandoned

AP

That’s that for day four! It leaves the Test very nicely poised, with the whole series on the line on the fifth and final day. The only thing that could ruin this is rain, so cross your fingers we get an uninterrupted crack at it tomorrow. All three results are on the table, which is just the way we like it.

We’ll be back for a 9.30am AEST start tomorrow (weather permitting), so make sure you join us then. Thanks for your company today, and have a lovely evening.

By Dean Bilton

Surely the Australian team looking at your radar/paint graphic there would be saying “Oh, dear God no!!”

-H.B.W.

Sorry, let me fix it…

By Dean Bilton

Bit of rain around, ay?

By Dean Bilton

It’s dark, and it’s not going away any time soon. We apparently need to resume play by 5.30pm Brisbane time (in a little under an hour) or else that’s it. Looking at the radar and the sky, we aren’t going to be getting back on by 5.30pm.

WHO COULD HAVE POSSIBLY SEEN THIS COMING?!?

By Dean Bilton

2nd over – Josh Hazlewood to bowl

Australia’s best bowler in this Test. He’s bowling to Shubman Gill.

There’s some swing! Too wide for Gill to need to play at, but still!

He’s finding that Hazlewood line and length already, but Gill is defending well.

YEP, HERE COMES THE RAIN! COVERS COMING ON!

By Dean Bilton

1st over – Mitchell Starc gets the brand newy

Righto, we’re going to have a go here. Not sure how much we’ll get in, but every ball is an opportunity for Australia.

Starc to Roshit Sharma. Series on the line. All to play for.

Rohit defends the first ball in at his feet. Bit of shape, but a little too short to really tell.

First ball Starc pitches up doesn’t swing at all. Which is a little concerning.

FOUR RUNS! Now there’s a shot from Rohit Sharma! Just a glorious cover drive, that has gone so quickly to the fence the camera couldn’t keep up. No swing at all from Starc, full and wide.

One over down, four from it.

By Dean Bilton

It’s on its way

Audience comment by Koala55

India can get this with 3 singles every over. Very doable…they don’t even have to be aggressive.

Audience comment by Bruce Russell

I would love to be proven wrong, but I can’t see Australian bowlers taking 10 wickets. I suspect they are mentally and physically exhausted, and this is actually quite a good Indian batting lineup.

Audience comment by Jo

Pleased for Siraj.<br>Now, Aussie bowlers – do your stuff!

By Dean Bilton

76th over – Siraj looking for his own five-fa

Cummins slogs to the man in the deep, and doesn’t take the single. So it’s not REALLY even about runs right now. What is it about, then?

And now they’ve taken a single… oh wait, they want two! But Cummins is sent back! And he nearly gets run out! And all of this is pointless!

FOUR! Hazlewood goes bang through the covers again! Why were they shielding him from the strike?

AND HAZLEWOOD IS OUT! FIVE WICKETS FOR MOHAMMED SIRAJ!

AUSTRALIA ALL OUT 294, INDIA NEEDS 328 TO WIN

Hazlewood went the ramp again but actually made proper contact this time and was caught at third man. A lovely moment for Mohammed Siraj though, his first five wicket haul in Test cricket. He’s a little overwhelmed in the moment, which is fair enough given everything he’s been through.

So Australia will get a crack at them now – but for how long? I reckon the rain is no more than 20 minutes away, and when it comes, I think that’s it. If Australia gets a couple of overs in tonight they will be lucky.

By Dean Bilton

Baffling that we’re still batting here. If I was India I wouldn’t even bother trying to bowl Australia out at this stage, every over that ticks by suits them perfectly.

-Sean

And that’s exactly what India are doing. Just bowling short and/or wide.

By Dean Bilton

75th over – Shardul looking for the five-fa

Ramped away over gully by Hazlewood. There was a third man in, but he didn’t hit it well enough to reach him. Just a single.

Field completely spread for Cummins now, men back everywhere.

A loose short ball there from Shardul. So loose, in fact, it’s called a wide.

Cummins takes a single then denies Hazlewood the chance to take one of his own, as another over ends.

By Dean Bilton

74th over – Siraj to Cummins again

SIX OF THEM! Cleared the front leg and tonked it back over the bowler’s head for six! Onya Patty.

Another well struck drive from Cummins, but mid-off got a finger to that one. Just two.

Eight from the over. The rain remains on the way.

By Dean Bilton

73rd over – Shardul to Lyon

AND LYON IS OUT! STRAIGHT TO COVER!

Well there’s probably not much point worrying about a declaration, as it looks like Australia will be all out soon anyway. Lyon just hit that straight to the fielder at cover at about stomach height.

Josh Hazlewood at the crease now. Shardul one away from a five-wicket haul, to go with his fine batting effort.

FOUR! How’s that from the Hoff? No need to move your feet, just throw the hands through it. Fair cover drive that.

So a wicket and a boundary off that over.

By Dean Bilton

AP

By Dean Bilton

72nd over – Siraj bowling again

Cummins hoiks, away to deep square leg for a single.

TOP EDGE FOR SIX! Lyon will take those! Genuine top edge on that pull shot, but it’s flown off the bat and cleared the rope easily.

Now an inside edge from Lyon, away for one more run. The lead is now 307.

Cummins is swinging a bit harder now. Can’t find a gap for love nor money, but the effort is there.

Another massive slog, but no contact at all this time. That’s the over, eight from it.

By Dean Bilton

It wld not surprise me more rain for bris in a while…there’s a fair bit inland at the moment running sth so who knows.

-Chris

Yes, looking at the radar I reckon we’ll get maybe 30-45 minutes in before the rest of today is washed out.

With that in mind, I’m thinking Australia has no real plan to bowl at all today.

By Dean Bilton

71st over – Shardul to Lyon now

Another tidy little pull shot from Lyon, around the corner for another single.

Lots and lots of short stuff now, reminiscent of what the Indian tail copped yesterday.

Eventually a no ball is called — too many bouncers over head height.

This one fractionally fuller but still pulled away by Cummins, and they run three.

And there’s your over bowled.



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Fourth Test between Australia and India could have been played in Perth instead of Brisbane: Dirk Nannes


With just four Tests played over the current Australian summer, ABC Sport commentator Dirk Nannes has questioned why Brisbane was given hosting rights instead of Perth.

The hard-fought series between Australia and India has been played in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, while the new Perth Stadium going without a Test.

The series is going down to the wire at the Gabba, with Australia seeking a win to clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India only require a draw.

Nannes said the investment in Perth Stadium and the quality of the cricket played on the grounds meant there was a strong argument to play a match in WA ahead of Brisbane.

“They’ve just put a billion dollars into a stadium and put on a great Test match when they’ve had it there,” he said.

Australia’s superb record at the ‘Gabbatoir’ is often raised as a reason to hold a game there, with the hosts having not lost a Test in Brisbane since 1988/89.

“Or do you pick it on your place that puts on the best product?”

Nannes’s comments about the viability of the Brisbane Test came in the wake of low crowd numbers on day four. The crowd capacity had been limited to 10,000 each day due to coronavirus concerns, but the Monday crowd was a fraction of that.

“There’s only 2,200 people who find it entertaining enough to turn up and watch,” Nannes said.

“I just feel like it’s a trend over the years that people aren’t coming to the Brisbane Test in the numbers that you get elsewhere,” he said, pointing out that it was still school holidays in Queensland.

SCG and MCG have the advantage of consistent dates

Australia batsman David Warner connects with a pull shot at the Gabba against India.
The Test and series are evenly poised.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

Fellow commentator Quentin Hull said it was harder for Queenslanders to blank out their diaries for the annual Test, as it wasn’t on a set date.

“Everyone has lower crowds on day four. Aside from Melbourne and Sydney, you aren’t sure when the Test will be played each year,” Hull said.

“Melbourne is always on on Boxing Day. The SCG is always in the New Year.

“This is an event that doesn’t have a set date in the calendar.”

Nannes admitted the Brisbane pitch was of a high standard.

“This is my favourite cricket pitch in the country.

“You need an atmosphere. You need bums on seats in Australia. And the ground is somewhat antiquated.

“I just feel with the amount of investment that has gone into Perth — and you don’t just chase the money — but [also] the quality of cricket Perth has put on in the last few years, they might deserve it.

“This topic generates discussion every year, and it’s always going to be along state lines.”

Both Nannes and Hull agreed they would like to see more Tests played, even if it doesn’t generate the revenue of limited-overs cricket.

In 2019 former Australian batsman Ed Cowan called the Gabba a “concrete bowl”.

“Brisbane is not a great place to watch Test cricket. It’s hot, it’s sweaty, you’re in a concrete bowl,” he said

“There’s nothing great about the Gabba except probably the wicket.”

Listen to live coverage of Australia vs India on ABC Sport.



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Mitchell Starc doing his job for Australia against India, Stuart Clark says



Former Australian seamer Stuart Clark has defended Mitchell Starc from his critics, saying he is performing a specific role for this Australian team and doing it well.

All the Australian bowlers have struggled to swing the ball this summer, and as the primary weapon in Starc’s arsenal, it has made him a reduced threat.

His record of 11 wickets at an average of 33.90 in the series is sound, but he trails his pace partners Josh Hazlewood (16 at 15.93) and Pat Cummins (17 at 21.52).

But Clark, speaking on Grandstand at Stumps after play on day three, says Starc (2-88) is doing what it says on the tin, after a stronger performance on Sunday.

“People can be really critical of Mitchell Starc but his job in this team is to run in and bowl fast,” he said.

“He picked up the crucial wicket of Rahane and he picked up a crucial wicket late in the day.

Hazlewood the best of the bunch in Brisbane

Clark identified Hazlewood as the pick of the bunch in India’s first innings, and his figures of 5-58 backed that up.

“Out of all the quicks I thought he was the best, he hit nice lengths all day, toiled away, toiled away, toiled away, picked up the just desserts at the end of the day,” Clark said.

“He’s one of those guys that is just pretty simple, not a lot can go wrong with his action, bowls a lot of balls in the right spot.

“He may have fractionally got carried away at the end there with that short stuff, but once he got back into where he needed to be, he was the guy that looked the most threatening.

“The ball he got Pujara with was a beautiful delivery, pitched around off stump, seamed away. We know how difficult Pujara is to dislodge.”

Bowlers work well in combination

Clark says the thing that makes this Australian attack so good is how they complement each other.

“Hazlewood’s your guy that runs in all day – and Pat Cummins, arguably the best bowler, did what he does best, ball after ball, broke the 100-run partnership when nothing else was happening,” he said.

“Nathan Lyon didn’t get a lot out of the wicket, toiled away all day, but he’ll come into his own as the match goes on.”



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